Is Lance Armstrong the first person to be a pathological liar over decades? No…
Is he the first person to seemingly get away with cheating, deception and betrayal for years while the people he cheats, deceives and betrays pay the price? No..
Is he the first person to start a lie, and then start believing the lie, becoming arrogant and a bully in the process? No..
Will he be the last?…no…
What fascinates me about this case is the timing in the larger global context. We are surrounded, right now, by massive liars and cheats who are still getting away with their lying and cheating. Hmm…the banking industry? Politicians?
Why is it OK for ‘we the people’ to not demand these liar’s and cheats be brought to justice? Its our money they are using to line their coffers? And line it they are, with amounts of money most of us cannot comprehend.
So why is Lance Armstrong going down in flames, while the CEO’s of most of the world’s major banks get away with obscene financial rape? Again and again? (Not to mention the big oil companies, the agri companies, mining…?)
And what is the global cultural significance of this occurrence, now, at this time?
We love a hero. We yearn for a hero. The child from the single mother family who raised himself up, survived cancer and then went on to be a 7 time hero, with each victory his star rising higher. It gives us hope that we too may find a hero inside. That we may rise. We want that hope. Desperately. We want to believe in the hero who raises up against all odds, to pave the way for us.
Its called hope.
We want to feel our own hero by seeing it in others. And we yearn for the true hero…the one that has conquered all, who has the wealth and fame and fabulous life. Or the illusion of such.
Our moral compass is so skewed that the hero is defined by media success, wealth success, and occasionally, talent success, with a good back story thrown in as highly beneficial. We fall at the alter of celebrity. Often cleverly manipulated by the lords of industry to keep our illusions fed and watered, to distract us from the larger game being played right under our nose.This trance like state over celebrity says so much about our own inner bankruptcy and the absence today of any true hero…the Mandel’s and Gandhi’s of our time.
When the hero turns out to be a fraud, forgiveness is almost impossible, because in forgiveness we also must accept that we participated in the deception by being so easily duped. Its our anger at ourselves for believing that we need to forgive. Our anger at being seduced and betrayed.
And in remaining unforgiving we inadvertently become trapped in their own self betrayal.
Yet our lying cheating lords of industry and public office have not been placed in a such a office of hero. The very system they inhabit is designed to allow the cultivation of lying and cheating. They merely play the game. Many of us know they play the game. Yet what do we do? We stand by and watch, accepting for now some illusion that we are powerless.
Where is their remorse?
Why should they be remorseful? Like Lance believed, rightly or wrongly, they play in a game where lying and cheating is the playing field.
Does that make it right?
And this is where it gets down to integrity. Integrity is hard. Its one of the hardest things to build as a practice. Its foundations are de-stabalised the moment we allow one small, seemingly insignificant little atrocity to be perpetrated. Then we have chosen the path of evil. That is the first act that makes all the other acts easier.
Most people, with the exception of those who have a psychological disorder, know the difference between a lie and the truth, right back to the first lie when you were a child.
But that first act allows the next to follow. And the next. And the more we get away with it, the more arrogant we become, until we do believe that we cannot be caught. That we are bullet proof. Above the laws of good and evil.
This time in history is the age where lying and cheating has become pathological in our systems and institutions. The new ‘normal’. At the personal level, where lying and cheating lives in our own hearts and minds as ‘normal’. From an historical view we have been here before. Look to the fall of most empires and you will see the lies, corruption, hubris and vast inequality as normal right before the fall.
Like any system that has disease, there is only so long until the diseased system breaks down. It has to break down. For each lie is a deposit into the bank of pathology.
Like Pandora’s box, the lid is now wide open. The Lance Armstrong story is the metaphor of the times.
By coming out of his illusion we may come out of a larger collective illusion we are all under.
We are being lied to. By the media, by the politicians, by the money men, by celebrity. We lie to ourselves to continue to prop up the illusion. And the price is far higher than the Lance Armstrong case.
The break down of the larger collective lie and illusion won’t happen overnight. Its a process, just as Lance is now in his ‘process”.
We also need to come out of the illusion that we are powerless. We the people have the power. We always have. It lies within the community voice, the collective voice. The one that says enough! The voice that says I will not compromise my soul to this system.
The price is our lives and the lives of our children’s children, as reflected in our ability to do worthwhile work for a lifetime, to be paid well, to have money for retirement, to have a viable environment to enjoy life in, now and in the future, to contribute to the larger community. To live with dignity, justice and in integrity. Behind the heroic quest, this is what we truly yearn for.